Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Coffee and Gratitude



Years ago when I was a practicing therapist there was a ritual I followed every morning.  Part of my ritual was to sit down at my kitchen table with my first cup of coffee and write a gratitude list.  I believe that when we have an appreciation for our gifts the quality of our life can improve.  There is science to support my theory.  Positive Psychology tells us that practicing thankfulness can combat negative situations.
During the span of time that I was truly diligent about writing my Gratitude List I was living in a rural small town about 20 miles outside of Houston.  I had a small vegetable garden in my back yard.  I grew potatoes, onions, leafy greens, yellow squash, tomatoes and jalapenos… nothing extravagant, just the things I wanted to eat.  I made my own strawberry and apple jam.  My office was exactly 8 minutes from my driveway, that’s if every traffic light was red.  I’m wandering a little, but it’s to illustrate a point. 
My life was simpler then.  I was able to take the time out of each day to reflect on my life and pay attention to all of the things in my life for which I am grateful.  Effective today I am reinstituting that part of my morning ritual.  I have started my Gratitude List.  I encourage you to join with me and start your own Gratitude List.  Let me give you a few words of warning before you decide to join me.  Gratitude does not come as easily as complaining.  Start slowly. Learn to be grateful for both the obvious things like waking up and the things you may take for granted, like the ability to walk to your car.

I wish now that I still had those lists I made so many years ago when my child was still young and I would look out of my kitchen window and watch the birds at the bird feeder, the spring flowers billowing in the wind and an occasional deer creeping through the woods.  I plan to hold on the new list so that I can reflect in one year, five years or even in ten years.  As we move forward in life it’s always interesting to stop and take stock of how far we’ve travelled on our journey.
How often do you stop to acknowledge the things for which you are grateful?

Follow on Twitter @womanswords2
 
Sign up to receive new posts from This Woman's Words in your inbox.

Photo Courtesy of Huff Post

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Graduations and New Beginnings



Please enjoy this repost that remains relevant today.
I am from a large family.  May and June of every year is a time for graduations and new beginnings.  Each year I can expect at least two or three family members to graduate from something.  Kindergarten, middle school, high school, undergraduate college, graduate school…there is always a graduation.

This year with the economy in its current state, I can’t help but wonder what will come of the graduates in my family and in yours.  Gone are the days when a person could graduate from college and have 5 or 6 really good job offers to consider. Many traditional college graduates (those that graduate on time, in four years) are seeking internships in lieu of seeking jobs.  It is the hope of many that the internship will lead to a more permanent job opportunity.  For the class of 2013 the future is not necessarily bright.

According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. employers added 165,000 workers to non-farm payrolls in April, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent from 7.6 percent.  That is the lowest unemployment rate we have seen since December 2008. Yet we are still faced with millions of people in the U.S. who are among the ranks of the long-term unemployed.  How does this fresh new crop of eager, ready and educated graduates impact their ability to find work?

I was always told that the key to ensuring a successful and secure future was education.  Life has taught me that education is only a good, solid start.  I will always be a strong proponent for education.  Yet I want the class of 2013 to understand that they must work hard to ensure their own futures.  While it is great to get a job with a top tier company, don’t rest on your laurels.  Learn what you can from every job opportunity you have. Figure out how you can contribute to the American landscape.  Think about entrepreneurship. 

When I reflect on my freshman year of college I think of how certain I was about my future.  Now I see how much I have moved away from the vision I had for my life so many years ago. Class of 2013, here is my message for you“The only thing constant is change.  Always be prepared for change.”

Graduation is only the beginning.  Now is the time to start the real work. 

Are you doing now what you expected to do when you were 18 or 22?

Follow on Twitter @womanswords2
Sign up to stay informed

Photo courtesy of dosomething.org

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Are Black People Better Off?






Today I am concerned about the state of mind of Clive Bundy and his supporters. It is disheartening to know that Clive has lived his life filled with such hate and misinformation.  I am saddened that he never opened his mind and his heart to learn more about a race that appears to have caused him to be consumed with hate.  
Clive Bundy initially gained notoriety because he has allowed his cattle to graze on government owned land since 1993 and refused to pay the more than $1 million he owes in grazing fees.  When government officials approached him about the money owed, Bundy and his supporters armed themselves with weapons in response.  Bundy successfully changed the focus from the millions owed to the government to an ongoing American social concern.

With the eye of the media on him, Bundy took the opportunity to share his thoughts on the "Negro":

"I'm wondering if they're better off under a government subsidy and their young women are having the abortions and their young men are in jail and their older women and children are sitting out on the cement porch without nothing to do.
I'm wondering: Are they happier now under this government subsidy system than they were when they were when they were slaves and they was able to their family structure together and the chickens and the garden and the people have something to do.
So in my mind, are they better off being slaves in that sense or better off being slaves to the United States government in the sense of the subsidy. I'm wondering. The statement was right. I am wondering."
I challenge you Clive to open your eyes, open your heart and open your mind to the life experiences of those who live in the government subsidized housing you described.  I encourage you to chose one child, one adult, or one family and get to know them.  Become intimate with the challenges they face on a daily basis.  

People end up receiving government subsidies for any number of reasons... Death of a major bread winner, lay off, illness, un-educated or under educated... the stories are countless, especially in today's economy.  
I don't know a single person who would choose to live in government subsidized housing if they had viable alternatives.  Do you? 

Please leave your comments below.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Guns Everywhere

Photo courtesy of Washington Post
By signing into law the most liberal (pun intended) gun rights bill, Gov. Nathan Deal has in effect allowed Georgians to carry their Guns Everywhere.  

With this new bill, those who are licensed gun owners may carry their guns into places that I believe may create problems that could be avoided.

What reason would a thinking person have for bringing a loaded gun into a bar?  Not only is it possible that the licensed gun owner is drinking, but patrons at the bar may be drinking alcohol as well.  Either or both could make an alcohol induced decision that might result in a tragedy.

Some may argue that bringing a loaded gun onto a school campus may have avoided some of the recent school shooting we have experienced here in America.  I am wary of allowing loaded guns on any school campus even if the gun owners is licensed.  If you look at the statistics, most of the school shooters don't have history that would have precluded them from obtaining a legal license.

Georgia's  Safe Carry Protection Act allows licensed gun owners to bring loaded guns into public places, including bars, nightclubs, schools, churches and government buildings.

This is not a trend that I'd like to see spreading throughout America.

What are your thoughts?

I'd love to read your comments.

Follow me on twitter @womanswords2

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bound No Longer: In Celebration of African America History Month



Originally posted February 2013


Guest Post:
In celebration of African American History Month join This Woman's Words in welcoming Los Angeles based composer, musician, lyricist and performer John McConnell of ProLyric Productions and John McConnell Music as our guest today.  Please leave your comments below:

Every time I think about ‘Black History Month’, I consider why there is such a thing.  For a long while I thought it was counter-productive – a form of reverse discrimination for people of color to perpetuate the individuality of setting aside an entire month to say, “Hey –focus on our accomplishments”.  The image I’ve always associated with this month is one of enslaved black people in chains and fetters. As an African American I’ve grown to understand just how significant and necessary this month really is.  As we share with the world the many reasons why we’re valuable, we simultaneously rid ourselves of slave clothes (negative labels).  To have an inferiority complex derives from every word, image, and practice that makes one feel that being truly happy is not a right they should enjoy.  Such bondage can and has caused many people to live out an existence of saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, but never forging ahead as trailblazers.

I moved to Los Angeles from HoustonTexas ... to follow a passion I’ve had in my heart for many years.  I am a singer/songwriter who enjoys being on stage, but even bigger – for many years now, it’s been my dream for my songs to be in movies.  I’ve always loved how producers use songs to help a dramatic scene become truly dramatic.  Everyday, I purpose to write a new song that inspires all the positive things in life (love, joy, friendship, etc.).  I never run out of words, because that’s the beauty of being human – our words.  But how does a forty-five year old man break into an industry that is completely foreign to him and experience the success of watching feature films with his songs playing as the credits are rolling?  He defies anything poised as a barrier, and yes that includes every negative stereotype concerning his culture.

It’s not just a “black thing” to be told you’re not good enough.  People will always be in competition with each other.  I celebrate victory already, because I’m on the path.  Talking about the path is one thing, but to actually walk it out is what I call victory.  This journey may not be quick, but for me it’s necessary.  I no longer live by labels attached to me, but each day I decide for myself who I am.  If my example can give young black kids an excuse to defy the odds and follow their passions, then by all means I think it’s ok for me to say, Hey – focus on my accomplishments”.



John McConnell is an expert singer/songwriter.  His music weaves R&B, modern rock, hip-hop, pop jazz, and traditional gospel into a seamless fabric.  John founded ProLyric Productions in 2000—a songwriting company of positive, pro-social lyrics. In December of 2007, God impressed upon John to commit to writing an entire song everyday.  John has remained consistent and faithful to this task, and now (almost five years later) has catalogued over 1,600 songs.  ProLyric Productions submits songs for a variety of occasions, all across the United States.  The goal of this venture is for recording artists of all genres to record music written by John McConnell, and for that music to flood the airwaves EVERYWHERE.  It is John’s desire to receive  film and television licensing opportunities for his songs.
John moved to Hollywood, CA to pursue his passion more intently.  You can view at least 114 of Johns songs on You Tube by subscribing to his music channel: ‘John McConnell Music’.  You can also learn more about him by visiting JohnMcConnellMusic.com.
Contact John McConnell at prolyricpro@aol.com
Follow John McConnell on Twitter: @ProLyricMusic
Connect on Facebook: ProLyric Productions
Subscribe to YouTube: John McConnell Music

Monday, October 21, 2013

Affordable Care Act: Get the Facts Before You Speak!






Get the facts about the Affordable Care Act directly from the source.  Before you sit around the office lunch room and share horror stories that you’ve heard on your favorite television station, get the facts directly from the source.  Before you start speaking loud and wrong in the line at the grocery store, get the facts directly from the source.
If you are reading and comprehending this blog post, you can read and comprehend the information available on the official website.

There is so much misinformation on the web, on main stream media and on social media about the Affordable Care Act, that I do have at least a little patience for those who are struggling with finding the truth. But some of what I am hearing and reading is just downright mean-spirited.  Change is hard.  But we are Americans, and we can get through this.

I want all children to have access to affordable health care. I want those who are unemployed because of layoffs or medical problems and those with other special circumstances to have access to health care.  I understand that prevention costs less than medical intervention.  I vote.

As our President said earlier today, the fight to provide affordable health care for all Americans was not simply about a website.  We can not allow a website to defeat us.
"But we did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a website," Obama said. "We waged this battle to make sure that millions of Americans, in the wealthiest nation on earth, finally have the same chance to get the same security of quality, affordable health care as anybody else."

Let’s be patient and supportive and allow the process to work.

@WomansWords2

Photo courtesy of AP

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Texas Pastor Bans Hair Weaves....

Texas pastor bans hair weaves by members. 
Today I’m concerned about an article that has been featured on television, radio, on blogs and all over the internet.  It’s the story of Pastor A.J. Amir of Resurrecting Faith Church in Waco, Texas.  The pastor of the church has made headlines because he has banned the wearing of hair weaves by members of his church. 

There are so very many issues that Pastor Amir could choose to address in his church that I am actually surprised he has time to worry about the condition of his member’s hair.  He indicates that his church members are struggling financially.  What programs does he have in place at Resurrecting Faith Church to increase financial literacy? Does he have job placement assistance or career guidance support at the church?  If he is questioning the parenting choices made by his parishioners, does he have a parenting skills class available to address his concern?

AmericanPreachers.com quotes Pastor Amir:
“I lead a church where our members are struggling financially. I mean really struggling. “Yet, a 26 year old mother in my church has a $300 weave on her head. NO. I will not be quiet about this.”

As a woman, I know that there are any number reasons we may choose to wear hair weaves… hair loss due to medication, stress or illness, convenience due to a demanding schedule, consistency in professional appearance, to achieve a desired look or simply because we feel like doing something different.

It’s his church, he can make the rules as he deems appropriate.  As women, and as Americans, we have the right to choose to worship elsewhere if we don’t agree.


Don’t look for This Woman's Words on Sunday, Pastor Amir.

Question:
Do you think Pastor Amir is right to use his platform to focus on hair when there are other issues to be addressed in his community?

Follow us on Twitter: @womanswords2
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thiswomanswords




Photo courtesy of RubyRuby

Monday, August 12, 2013

Power From Within: Heal your OWN self

Guest Post:
Join This Woman's Words as welcome Susie Shantina Dixon of The Chronicles of Jaded Kisses!

Why are we so apt to taking the bad but being terrified to receive the good and perfect will of that which is Eternal? Why is there a need to be justified by someone who has no clue what you look like outside of your girdle and makeup let alone have your best interests at heart? Why do we stay in relationships that are killing us with every negative word spoken? WHY?
These and other questions go thru the mind of at least one person who just wanted to do better but LIfe kept getting the best of them. LIFE and all the things that come with her nasty self just kept beating you down until NOW. Until you meet someone that said "Here. I see you trying. Let me show you the way. Now I can't walk it out for you but what I can do is show you that life can be as beautiful as any words that you speak." Now on that same token , life can be bad only if you persist in calling that thang forward. They used to say whatever dog you keep calling, will come to you. With that in mind, how do we get from looking down to seeing that there is a bright better future ahead of you baby. Just keep moving... Just keep getting up every day with a song, beat box or whatever gets you in a happy mood. Keep your happiness close to heart and always on your mind.
  
 My FAVE 5 Things to keep me going:

  • Determination -  You can only go as far as your determination. NUFF SAID
  •  Persistence - For every time someone tries to hold you down, you have to keep pushing and going until you prove to yourself (NOT THEM) that you can. Once you accomplished, that there is nothing to stop you from doing anything because now you know it's possible.
  • Hope- You can't even live in THIS life without some kind of hope. You gotta have it. Without a glitter of hope life will eat you alive and you will struggle. But with hope anything is possible. As long as Beyonce and all these other beautiful people roam the Earth, Hope will forever be alive. You know there are some people who have no hope of getting them but they always hope. They stand in their hopes unshakable. So WHY NOT have hope that I can be and do WHATEVER I WANT!!  Yes!! I love hope because you made up your mind to see whatever it id that you are hoping for. 
  • Hard Work- Ya girl is not afraid to get down and ugly for what I want. SO one day I never have to get dirty a day in my future, if I choose not too. 
  • Support!!! No man is an island. We all need a positive somebody that lets us be us and listens. ALL that is important. As human beings, we are built to take care of others. We do it so well that we forget about ourselves in the process. Take an hour daily to do something for yourself. It's very hard to give out to someone else when your own internal supply is bare and empty.

In closing, be good to yourself, even if no one else does because the right people are waiting for you. You have all the power, strength and courage you need to change your life from anything that happened in yesterday or yesteryear.. You deserve to be happy. You deserve great health and great wealth!!!

XOXO,
Tina 



Bio: Susie Dixon is a local fashion designer, image consultant,social media maven. She is the mother of 3 beautiful girls. She and her husband will be married for 5 years in May. They reside in Houston, Texas. In her spare time, she enjoys shopping, reading, thrifting, and blogging. As a blogger, she likes to take her readers on a journey with her as she goes to different events, tries out the latest trends and designs new garments. She began to design when she grew tired of ill fitting clothes and couldn’t always afford to use a tailor. Designing lets her to be as classic and creative as her imagination allows.
Connect with Tina Dixon:
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jadedkisses11
Website: www.jadedkisses.com
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jadedkisses


What keeps you going when faced with adversity? 

Like us on Facebook: www.facebook/thiswomanswords
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/womanswords2


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Passion for Fashion: Espre Dekor



I had a great conversation on This Woman's Words radio with the co-founders of Espre Dekor Fashion and Events.  Deniece Allen and CJ Johnson have found the key to forging a long lasting partnership.  They have a mutual respect for what each of them bring to the business to make it successful.  
Espre Dekor provides a platform for those up and coming in the fashion industry to showcase their talents.  Deniece and CJ have a passion for fashion that is evident throughout our conversation.

Click HERE to listen to Espre Dekor on This Woman's Words radio.

Are you following us on Twitter? @womanswords2

Friday, June 28, 2013

Stand with Wendy and Watch Paula, Trayvon, the Supreme Court and Texas


 
As a woman and certified news junkie, I’ve got to tell you… I am on overload this week.  There has been so much happening this week that it’s impacting my sleeping patterns.  I stayed awake with most of the nation to watch Wendy Davis stand up for women’s health.  Wendy Davis, prior to this week was a little known senator from Texas.  Her bold actions this week place her in the national arena.  Standing in her pink athletic shoes, this teen mom staged a filibuster for a bill known as SB5, that would have effectively shut down most clinics in the state that perform abortions.  Texas covers quite a bit of territory.  Women living in rural areas of the state, could be without access to the option of choosing abortion.  The fight is not over.  Governor Rick Perry has ordered a second special session to address the bill in part because Ms. Davis "...hasn't learned from her own example".  

Paula Deen continues to wade through her troubles.  It is important to understand that as a public figure everything you do and have done becomes fodder for the press.  In the past week Paula has seen a large part of her vast empire fall.  I will be watching along with the rest of the public to see how her journey unfolds.
The nation has all eyes on the Trayvon Martin trial.  The trial opened with "knock-knock" jokes!  It is my hope that the attorneys in this case take every opportunity to show the American public that the criminal justice system truly has the ability to be fair. 

As a proud native Texan, I have been keeping an eye on the affirmative action case of Fisher v. University of Texas.  In 2008 a young woman from the small town of Sugar Land, Texas filed a claim that the University of Texas at Austin discriminated against her after she was denied admission.  In its efforts to ensure diversity in the admissions process, race is one of the factors considered.  The Supreme Court sent the case back to the appeals court for further review.  Wouldn't it be great if we lived in a world where there was no need for government enforced equality?

This week I also witnessed something that I found to be of great concern.  In a 5-4 vote the Supreme Court effectively struck down the Voting Rights Act of 1965.   There are some who say that the time has come to remove the protections that the act provided.  There are others who have a sense of how the change will impact voters access to the polls.  Texas wasted no time in implementing a law that requires voters to show identification in order to cast their ballots.  There is no longer the need for states to have federal approval to redistrict maps.  This can be significant as we see the demographics changing and interest in voting increasing in the state.  Texas is losing its conservative grip on politics and partisan gerrymandering may now be seen as a last chance option.

I will be watching these and other stories in the headlines.  What are your thoughts on the stories making headlines?

Please leave your comments on This Woman's Words Facebook Page

Sign up to receive the most recent posts in your inbox.


Photo courtesy of Outside The Beltway